Cozumel's Beaches: East and West Coasts, and Safety

A Mini Guide to Cozumel Beaches


What's YOUR favorite Cozumel Beach? Please share here with our visitors! Thank you!

picture of beautiful cozumel shore with sand and clouds for beaches and west and east coast beaches of Cozumel

Mexico's island of Cozumel beaches are best known as one of the great dive and snorkeling (check out Cozumel activities) hotspots. Cozumel has:

  • remarkable underwater geography

  • abundant marine life

  • warm, crystal clear water

  • a wide variety of beaches
Since the 60's, tourists have been drawn to these beaches. Cozumel has always been a wondrous and wild place. Cozumel offers a diverse marine ecology including wetlands, iron-shores, and lagoons.

The locals' Mayan heritage has continued and thrived in Cozumel for over 2,000 years!

Beaches in Cozumel Mexico - West Coast Beaches

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The west coast of Cozumel is 24 miles long and is most protected from prevailing winds. This is also known as the leeward side of the island. Here is where the island's historic town of San Miguel is located. San Miguel is the popular spot for the island's hotels and resorts.

The mainland is about 15 miles across. The island of Cozumel is located in a unique channel that is 1,500 feet deep and shaped like a bottleneck. This allows for coastal Gulf stream currents to continuously flush the area with clear 82 degree water. This creates the perfect conditions for Cozumel's healthy marine environment and reef systems.

The beaches that dot the island's west coast are usually devoid of any surf. These long west coast beaches are predominantly located within a 10-20 minutes from Cini Kin Na which is located in the southern half of the island. Some of the more popular beaches are:

  • Cozumel San Francisco Beach (Playa San Francisco)

  • Playa Corona

  • Chankanab

  • Playa Sole
Most of these beach strands will rent water-sports equipment like sea kayaks and jet skis. All of these beaches will offer an abundance of chaise-lounges, restaurants, bars, restrooms, and street vendor kiosks. They are fun places to kick back, drink a few beers and watch people play.

At the southern end of Cozumel is Punta Sur, which is Spanish for "South Point" (...go figure). It has recently become a "guarded marine sanctuary" that requires guests to have permission to enter. There you can find some wonderful quiet beaches and low dunes. These beaches and dunes are open for tourist exploration. In Punta Sur, there is a little known Mayan ruin called "El Caracole".

Cozumel's calm west coast offers some great sandy beaches. What makes it truly unique are the miles of "iron shore". cozumel underwater pictures, pictures of cozumel mexicoThis tough and rigid formation offers swimmers, snorkelers, and divers instant access to 12 feet of clear water.

You can also find an amazing variety of marine life that can't be found in the waters of the sandy beaches.

Cini Kin Na Villa's 285 feet of private coastline has two docks and is located on the iron shore 3 feet above sea level. The smooth fossil studded limestone is remnant of an ancient reef that existed here when sea levels were higher.

One of the most fascinating attractions is a four foot deep tide pool with hand carved limestone steps. These steps allow easy access in and out of the alcove.


Cozumel Beaches - East Coast Favorites

cozumel beaches, beaches of cozumel, beaches in cozumel mexicoAlong Cozumel's east coast are the island's true beach gems. From the road that runs along the crests of dunes with drifts of sea grape and honey bush are huge beaches and sandy coves. This area is sometimes monitored and patrolled by lifeguards. Unlike the west coast, there are only a few amenities such as restaurants and bars.

More severe weather and hurricanes tend to make most local business ventures on this side very short lived and impermanent. However, there are a few die-hard establishments on these beaches such as "Chen Rio", "Coconuts", and "Playa Bonita" that have managed to survive through the years of extreme conditions.

The vast beaches of Playa San Martin and El Mirador are nearby. They don't offer any services but, are stupendous in their form and beauty.

I love the miles long stretch of El Mirador. I have built over the years many beach tents to keep the sun off our heads using nothing more than an old white king sized sheet, four logs of driftwood, four pieces of rope, and a couple of $5.00 Mexican blankets.

Natural shade is nowhere to be found on this side of the island, so in between trips to the surf, flying your kite, or long walks down the beach, it's key to be able to provide your own shade for visits lasting an hour or longer. If you provide the sheet and the rope, the beach will provide the driftwood, and we at Villa Cini Kin Na will provide the coolers and ice for your picnic(s) and outings!

My favorite beaches are found down a sandy two-track lane. It leads north from Mezcalitos on Cozumel's east coast. Drive down this track for four miles and head to the north light house. Here you will find the truly isolated and wild beaches of Cozumel.

There is the risk of getting stuck in the sand, but sometimes it's worth the trip and experience! Just be sure you check the contract with the rental car (see Modes of Transportation) company before heading out there. ;-)



For Your Safety! A Mini Guide to
Cozumel Beaches Precaution Tips

Note that on any of Cozumel's East coast beaches intense rip-tides, under-tows, and strong currents often exist.
Some of the best ways to avoid any danger is:

  • Don't know how far into the ocean is a safe distance for you?
    Walk into the ocean until the water is as high as your ribcage.

    This rule may be flexible depending on the current status of the surf and your swimming abilities. If you are unsure of the water's nature, stay in a more shallow area.


  • Use fins while swimming, body surfing, or boogie boarding in the deep surf
    Fins give you great power in the water. If you are already a reasonably strong swimmer, they will only enhance your abilities!

  • ALWAYS swim with a friend spotting you from land

  • If you get caught in a current, don't panic or struggle!
    First and foremost, remember to breathe and keep your cool! Then, swim at an angle WITH THE CURRENT using a back or side stroke. It may take you a while to reach land, but by swimming at this angle, you are slowly breaking out of the ocean's current and returning to calmer water.

    Just remember to be patient! If you try to fight the ocean, the ocean is going to win! It will deposit you on the beach eventually.


  • Use sunscreen!
    On a sunny day the sun will burn you if you're not protected

  • The island of Cozumel's east coast is a great place to visit during those winter time "Nortes" (north winds)
    During this time, the ocean can be very calm and nearly surf free. Keep this area in mind if you're not comfortable with rough seas.

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"Cozumel's eternal dance between sea and surf, sky and clouds, is glorious in its beauty. The elegance is nearly incomprehensible and surreal."




Come experience Cozumel Mexico's beaches! We have the perfect Mexican Villa for you, your family, your group of great friends, your romantic escapades... you name it!

What's YOUR Favorite Beach at Cozumel Mexico? Please Share! :-)

Do you have a great story about this place and its delightful beach(es)? Please share it with others!


Wondering what to pack up and bring to Cozumel when you visit? Click here for a Cozumel packing list and travel tips.

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